Dear Bess: The Letters from Harry to Bess Truman, 1910-1959 (GIVE 'EM HELL HARRY)

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9780826212030: Dear Bess: The Letters from Harry to Bess Truman, 1910-1959 (GIVE 'EM HELL HARRY)


Once again available is the critically acclaimed Dear Bess, a collection of more than 600 letters that Harry S. Truman wrote to his beloved wife, Bess, from 1910 to 1959. Selected from 1,268 letters discovered in Bess's house after her death in 1982, this extraordinary collection provides an inside look at Truman's life, his thoughts, and his dreams.

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About the Author:

Robert H. Ferrell is Professor Emeritus of History at Indiana University in Bloomington. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Collapse at Meuse-Argonne: The Failure of the Missouri-Kansas Division and Meuse-Argonne Diary: A Divison Commander in World War I, both available from the University of Missouri Press. Ferrell resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


"Dear Bess is at once a love story, an astonishing record of what one industrious man managed to accomplish, and an intimate look into the heart and mind of the 33d President of the United States. . . . Truman's letters confirm what his friends and enemies alike always said about him: He was precisely what he seemed, no less, no more. What is startling is how little he seems to have changed over nearly 50 years. The voice of the young farmer of 1910 is almost identical with that of the President he became."—New York Times Book Review

"Theirs was a great American love affair, as practically every one of these 600-plus letters from Harry to Bess attests. . . . But this volume is more than the portrait of a perfect marriage. It's also a dramatic and sometimes hilarious account of how Truman's devotion to self-improvement gradually moved him away from farming and small-town haberdashery and ultimately propelled him into the White House. . . . There has rarely been such a comprehensive record of how a modern statesman thought."—Newsweek

"There are glimpses here of a forgotten America, when the phone was a novelty and the horse still king. . . . [Ferrell] has done an admirable job putting the letters into perspective. Best of all there are passages in these letters that give an idea of the way Truman's mind worked."—Christian Science Monitor

"This is a fascinating collection, reflecting [Truman's] devotion to his wife. His prejudices, financial worries, political tactics, and insight into the events and leaders of his time create a vivid portrait of a remarkable man. . . . Ferrell's editing is superb, and he has included a good collection of photographs from the Trumans' pre-presidential years."—Library Journal

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